Early Learning Activities for Babies and Toddlers - FamilyEducation

Early Learning

Help your baby or toddler become a successful learner with these articles, activities, and resources. Encourage your child's learning with engaging educational activities, and read our articles to gain insight into your baby's emotional and mental development.

Baby Bookworms! 7 Tips for Reading Aloud to Babies & Toddlers

Did you know that reading to your baby can boost his brain power? The American Academy of Pediatrics announced a new policy in June 2014 advising that parents regularly read aloud to kids from infancy through at least age 5 because it stimulates development, supports the parent/child bond, and helps build language, literacy, and social/emotional skills at a critical time in children's lives. Plus, it's just plain fun! read more

Benefits of Reading Aloud

Reading aloud to children is hugely beneficial in promoting literacy. read more

Best Learning Websites for Toddlers and Preschoolers

The Internet isn't just for big kids anymore! With many sites now available for toddlers, learning colors, numbers, and letters has never been easier. Check out our list of the best websites for kids, and find fun games, printables, and more that help make learning early skills fun. read more

Computer Training for a Three-Year-Old?

An expert advises against any formal computer training for a three-year-old -- not now, and not for many, many years. read more

First Hole and Peg

First Hole and PegTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials 3 empty toilet-paper rollsA shoe box Directions In the top of the box cut 3 holes that are big enough for an empty toilet-paper roll to slide through easily.Sit on the floor together and show the child how to put a roll into each hole. Extensions read more

Glitter Shapes

Glitter ShapesMaterials Construction paper Glue Glitter or Colorful Creative SaltDirections On construction paper, use glue to draw various shapes: square, rectangle, triangle, heart, circle, oval, star. Have your child sprinkle glitter (or Colorful Creative Salt) over the shapes. Shake off the extra glitter and practice the names of each shape. read more

Kindergarten Prep: Clean-Up Time

Kindergarten Prep: Clean-Up Time In the kindergarten classroom, your child will be expected to do her share of taking care of the classroom environment. This can include anything from picking up blocks after play to throwing away trash after snack to putting books back on a shelf and the list goes on. read more

Kindergarten Prep: I Am A Scientist

Kindergarten Prep: I Am A ScientistYoung children have a natural curiosity about their world— in many ways you could say they're natural scientists. Scientific exploration can provide amazing opportunities for developing skills in asking questions, making predictions, probing for answers, and building critical thinking skills in problem solving and decision making. A significant aspect of science in early learning is the development of new vocabulary. read more

Kindergarten Prep: I Am An Engineer

Kindergarten Prep: I Am An EngineerEngineering may sound like a big word for early learning, but the planning, constructing, reconstructing, dismantling, and testing of how shapes and objects fit together or work together is something young children automatically do every day. What Your Child Should Know Your child should know: read more

Kindergarten Prep: Use Your Walking Feet

Kindergarten Prep: Use Your Walking Feet There is every real possibility that your child's kindergarten classroom will have a set of rules posted on the wall. In every community there must be rules, which provide some sense of order and boundaries. The learning community is like a small society, and the teacher provides a sense of order and consistent boundaries. One way a teacher will often help students to understand their role in the learning community is by establishing a set of classroom rules. read more

Playing with Your Toddler: Rules of the Game

Playing with Your Toddler: Rules of the Game During your child's second year, you will remain his favorite plaything. He will enjoy jumping on you, climbing all over you, and having you toss him up in the air (please catch him, too). He will love dancing with you, chasing you, and having you chase him. He will listen intently as you talk and sing and he will delight in trying to make you smile and laugh. read more

Reading Aloud to Your Baby

Reading Aloud to Your Baby When reading simple books to your baby, don't simply read them. Unless he can see the pictures, reading aloud is just words in a vacuum to him. Sit your baby on your lap, point to the various objects shown, and name them two or three times. Take full advantage of the "cuddle factor": the opportunity books present to curl up with each other and share in the experience. Make reading a special quiet time for both of you. read more

Reading Resources for a Preschooler

The best thing to do for young children who want to "read" is to read, read, read to them. You can also play word games. read more

Reading to a Two-Year-Old

An expert explains what you can expect from attempts to read books to a two-year-old. read more

Spaghetti Pick-Up

Spaghetti Pick-UpTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials Pieces of cooked spaghetti (for babies who are able to eat finger foods) Directions Many babies will stick to this activity until they succeed. Place a few strands of the cooked spaghetti in front of the baby at the highchair or table.Let the baby experiment with picking up the pieces and eating them. If necessary, cut the pieces into sizes that can be easily swallowed. Extensions read more

Speech Therapy at Home

Reading to your child may be one of the best forms of speech therapy. read more

Story Time and Make-Believe

Story Time and Make-Believe Q-tip Your one-year-old will probably love the simple stories and bright, colorful, and clear illustrations in the books of the following authors: Sandra Boynton, Margaret Wise Brown, Eric Hill, Helen Oxenbury, Jan Pienkowski, Richard Scarry, Rosemary Wells, and Vera B. Williams. read more

Talking About Me: Reading

Talking About Me: ReadingToddlers like being read to. Read your child's favorite books. He likes to hear the same book again and again. After he memorizes some of the story, he can join in and tell what happens next. Later, he may want to retell the story on his own. read more

Teaching Four-Year-Olds

As one mother put it, "When my five-year-old daughter sits down at the table to learn, her mind just shuts down." At four years old, a child is too young for this type of learning. read more

The Importance of Playing Games with Your Preschooler

The Importance of Playing Games with Your Preschooler Q-tip Picture lotto is a terrific game for three-year-olds. After your child has mastered simple matching skills, invent some variations. Divide the cards evenly and take turns being the "caller." The caller turns one card over and announces what card she has: "I have a bird. Does anyone have a bird on their board?" This allows your preschooler to practice her new vocabulary. read more

Three-Year-Olds and Computers

If a three-year-old enjoys playing with a computer, he certainly should be allowed to be curious about it and enjoy what pleasure it can afford him. read more

Ticking Away

Ticking AwayTime 5 minutes Materials Ticking clock Directions Hide a fairly loud ticking clock behind your back and ask your baby what the sound is, bringing it out to show the source of the sound. Extensions Hide the clock under a blanket and let your baby find it.Hide it in a shoe box nearby and encourage exploration by asking about the sound.Put it under your shirt and let your baby find it. read more

Toys: Tools for Learning

Toys: Tools for LearningWhat Toys Do Through toys, children learn about their world, themselves, and others. Choosing toys that appeal to your children and foster their learning will help you make their early years count. Toys can teach children to: 1. Figure out how things work. 2. Pick up new ideas. 3. Build muscle control and strength. 4. Use their imagination. 5. Solve problems. 6. Learn to cooperate with others. read more

When to Start Homeschooling

If a child is able to interact with his world in a "joyful manner," this expert deems him ready for homeschooling. read more

Your Creative Preschooler: Art for Art's Sake

Your Creative Preschooler: Art for Art's Sake Q-tip Provide as much variety in art materials as you can afford. Also keep an eye out for throwaways that you can save and recycle as art materials. Your child can make creative use of paper towel tubes, empty egg cartons, and many other containers. read more

Your One-Year-Old and Play

Your One-Year-Old and Play Let your baby be challenged. That's how she learns. This is the time when baby is most interested in the world around her. Introduce the basics—try naming objects around the house and explain their purposes. Babies like to know as much as possible about everything. Teach your baby the right way the first time around. For instance, when baby is learning how to pick up a spoon or a rattle, take the time to show her the correct way to hold it. read more

Your Toddler's Development

Your Toddler's Development I remember when my nephew was about fifteen months old. His mom and dad took him to the beach, where they sat on a bench eating an ice cream cone and watching a crane building a bridge. When he was three, they returned to the same spot and the bridge was completed. Out of the blue, my nephew asked his dad, "Where did the crane go?" Even if your baby can't talk to you and tell you exactly what he's thinking, everything you're doing is registering and sinking in. read more